The distributions of nerve fiber conduction velocities (DCVs) derived from the median nerves of 29 adult diabetic patients (mean age, 52.1 ± 12.3 years) with mild or no symptoms or signs of polyneuropathy were compared with DCVs from 34 age-appropriate normal subjects. Ten patients (34%) had normal findings (type A DCVs). In the 19 patients (66%) with abnormal DCVs, defined as 10% or more of the DCV area falling outside the normal 95% confidence limits, two distinct patterns of DCV alteration were observed: type B DCVs (11 patients) showed reduced DCVmax, DCVmean, and DCVpeak, together with reduced DCVrange (narrow profile); whereas type C DCVs (8 patients) had reduced DCVmax, DCVmean, DCVpeak, and DCVmin, with normal DCVrange (broad profile). It is proposed that type C DCV represents a more advanced form of type B and that both reflect selective dysfunction of the fastest conducting (presumably largest-diameter) fibers in the nerve trunk. DCVmax was consistently greater than conventional measures of “maximal” CV in all patient subgroups. Patients with abnormal DCVs had higher incidence of mild neuropathic symptoms (15 of 19 versus 4 of 10, p < 0.01) and greater insulin dependence (11 of 19 versus 1 of 10, p < 0.001). Serial studies in 10 patients showed, at most, small degrees of change in conduction properties over relatively short intervals (1 to 9 months).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology